They Don’t Pay? We Won’t Pay!

by | Mar 26, 2023 | Featured, Reviews, Theatre

They Don’t Pay? We Won’t Pay! at Mercury Theatre

This is clever writing which truly is laugh a minute. It’s an adaptation of a 1974 Italian play by Dario Fo and Franca Rame called Sottopaga? Non si paga!. As you can see this seems to be a recurring theme.

The adaptation by Deborah McAndrew is based in a inner city block of flats and it is entirely spot on in the way it portrays exactly what’s going on right now in Britain. It’s also completely up to date, using the latest hot news items.

Anthea has ‘accidently’ stolen from the local supermarket when the customers held a mini-revolt and looted the shelves. Anthea confides in her friend Maggie and between them they try to hide the loot from her husband Jack, who is a socialist and would rather starve than steal as it’s all about dignity, and the Police who are tasked with recovering the goods. However, there are numerous hilarious plot twists as Anthea’s attempts at lying and trying to divert attentions away from the stolen goods seem to get worse and worse as she tries to cover her tracks by inventing the most incredulous and hysterical stories.

What is seriously clever about this play, whereas it is full of laughter and hilarious moments, one liners, jokes, subtle quips, the political satire is off the charts – and which generates the most laughter. The conversation the characters have about the politics and their representation of the lowest income earners are exactly what we are all thinking. The farce is not on the stage – it is in the cabinet.

The dialogue is witty, sharp, sarcastic, clever and very real. These conversations are going on in homes – we are all talking about why people are freezing while the energy companies are making billions in profit.

The actors are brilliant. Brilliant at portraying their characters but also brilliant at delivering their lines with perfect timing to give the audience maximum laughter. We were giggling, snorting, chuckling, chortling – all the descriptions of laughing as the funnies were on so many levels. Marc Pickering played multiple characters, which only added more fun.

The incredulous events which are used to cover up the lies really are unbelievable and at times does get very silly, however silly is funny and laughter is what we need in our lives. This was laugh a minute show while dealing with a very serious issue we have right now.

And just when we thought it had ended… there was a surprise!


  • Jack – Joseph Alessi
  • Anthea – Laura Doddington
  • Maggie – Tesni Kujore
  • Everyone else – Marc Pickering
  • Lewis – Jack Shalloo

Playing at The Mercury Theatre until 31st March

Listings at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester

Book Tickets


  • Hayley Clapperton

    Hayley is a business co-owner working too many hours so it's a good job she's passionate about it. Hayley's down time is music, music and music of all types and she enjoys going to gigs, listening to new bands and breathing in the energy it creates.

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